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REACTION: 'Effing wild!' - Cooper crocked, Banks broken and Swain sent off - but Wallabies overcome chaos

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2nd July, 2022
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For the second year running Dave Rennie’s Wallabies produced an incredible win over a European giant despite suffering a red card, as his brave team overcame several massive obstacles to end Eddie Jones’ eight match unbeaten run.

The 30-26 first Test win over England in Perth – a year after a similar performance against France – was achieved despite the Wallabies losing star man Quade Cooper before kickoff, Tom Banks to an agonising arm injury and Darcy Swain to a red card. Australia ended with 13 on the field to withstand a late surge after leading 30-14 with three minutes left.

It will pile pressure on Jones after a poor Six Nations, and will be a massive relief to Rennie.

“Effing wild,” was Nic White’s summary of the game, and while the rugby wasn’t vintage there were enough talking points for a whole season.

“We showed some serious character there against a very good side. Oh, how good hey!

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“It’s right up there. To beat them against all odds, we showed some real fight. We know they’ll be better next week but that was one for the ages, one you remember – 13 men there at the end having to fight for everything.”

INSTANT REACTION: The Roar experts Brett McKay, Harry Jones and Jim Tucker dissect a famous victory for Australia in a special edition of the podcast

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Brumbies skipper Allan Alaalatoa was also forced off in the first half, which ended locked 6-6 after two penalty goals apiece.

While it looked like England would power away after the break with the extra man, the Wallabies were immense, with Jordan Petaia playing a starring role after replacing Swan.

Cooper pulled up with a sore calf in the warm up and withdrew, sending Noah Lolesio into the starting role – the young Brumby was nerveless with the boot despite enpormous pressure.

James O’Connor, who had been in the corporate boxes high above the field having been left out of the 23, had to hurry into a reserves jersey.

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If that wasn’t enough Banks, who broke his right arm in September last year against the Springboks, fell from a great height on his left as he jumped for a kick.

His face was etched in agony after his left arm bent on a savage angle as it hit the ground.

Alaalatoa was helped off soon after but the Wallabies task became nigh on impossible when Swain was provoked into a red card by opposing lock Jonny Hill.

Earlier in the half Hill had shoved Swain in the face with both hands, and as the game neared halftime the pair clashed again.

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Hill grabbed Swain’s hair and the Australian was incensed. He gave Hill a slight head butt and while Hill received a yellow, it was red for Swain, leaving the Aussies without a player for the rest of the game.

Darcy Swain of the Wallabies receives a red card during game one of the international test match series between the Australian Wallabies and England at Optus Stadium on July 02, 2022 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Darcy Swain of the Wallabies receives a red card during game one of the international test match series between the Australian Wallabies and England at Optus Stadium on July 02, 2022 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

“I’m lost for words. Jonny Hill attacks the head of Darcy Swain. There’s an element of gamesmanship but it’s not a good look. Jonny Hill has baited Darcy Swain enough to get a reaction,” said former Wallabies lock Justin Harrison on Stan Sport.

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Andrew Mehrtens added: “It’s a good result for Jonny Hill – he’s happy isn’t he?

“Part of it is from rugby’s focus on reaction to retaliation. It’s always the last action that gets penalised the heaviest. It just seems ridiculous . A player’s going to respond to that. It’s human nature to respond to a hair pull.”

Morgan Turinui though felt Swain needed to learn a lesson from the incident.

“As soon as you use the words head butt that was it,” said Turinui.

“You can’t use your head as a weapon (even though) there was no high force or danger in that. For Darcy Swain the lesson in that is when an opposition player niggles you you have to maintain discipline. He’s paying a high, possibly justified price for that.

He threw the shoulder but the head went with it. You promote your head like that at another player’s head you leave yourself at the mercy of the officials.”

Lolesio gave Australia a 9-6 lead early in the half but when England cross for a maul try to Ellis Genge on 48 minutes, Australia were drifting to long odds.

But Petaia was put over by Kellaway on the right to give the Aussies a lead.

“There are only 14 Wallabies on the park and every single one of them contributed for an opportunity for that X factor player Jordie Petaia to finish it off,” said Turinui.

“He’s got everything Jordie Petaia,” said Mehrtens. “And he had to use most of it there. He is lethal.”

England were rocked and couldn’t respond as Folau Fainga’a and Pete Samu put Australia ahead 30-14.

England, at last, put up a fight. They managed a try from the lightening Henry Arundell, scoring with his first touch in international rugby just before the siren, and another after the siren to leave the margin at two.

“It’s a pretty tough loss that,” said England captain Courtney Lawes. “Fair play to Australia they came with a good strategy and executed better on the day. We didn’t give up. We’re still learning as a squad.

“Our discipline let us down.”

Michael Hooper said: “We had to dig deep, go to the well there a bit today and come up with a lot of solutions. I’m really proud of our guys and the effort put in.

“How good is sport in the sense you can’t script that stuff. You have all these plans and they go out the window.”

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